Heat welcome Hassan Whiteside; Injured Wade to miss Tuesday's game
MIAMI -- New Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside is already an official member of the team and was present during the Tuesday morning shootaround in preparation for their game against the visiting Golden State Warriors.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra lamented the departure of guard Shannon Brown but insisted the benefits of adding a defensive-minded big man would be a huge plus for the team.
"These are tough decisions whenever you get to this point," he said. "It's tough because you build a relationship with a player and Shannon Brown is absolutely first-class. It's tough and so many things that he does fit our Miami Heat DNA but we feel the upside of a 7-footer, shot-blocker and rebounder -- a young player -- was something that was too good to pass up right now."
Nevertheless, Spoelstra cautioned that playing time for Whiteside might initially be hard to come by, even with Chris Andersen's recent ankle injury that will sideline him for the time being.
"We view him as a developmental player even though he's played professionally for three years," said Spoelstra. "We still see him as a young prospect. Someone that we can invest our time in and we've shown a history of being able to develop players and he's a big prospect."
Whiteside, for his part, sounded thrilled to be a part of the Heat organization after having played overseas in addition to the NBA and the D-League.
"It's a great opportunity to just come to a championship organization and I'm just happy to be here," he said.
Spoelstra confirmed that Dwyane Wade would once again sit out Tuesday to rest his sore hamstring even though he was able to go through a portion of the shootaround.
He also said that Norris Cole was a full participant in the shootaround and would be available to play versus the Warriors with a splint in his hand to fast track his recovery from a dislocated left middle finger.
"I'm getting used to the feel of it," said Cole of his splint, which will have to be worn on a day-to-day basis until the finger is healed enough. "I'm trying to get back as quick as possible and get some basketball moves in so I can see how it's going to feel during game time."
More good news came with Spoelstra's announcement that Andersen's MRI on his ankle revealed no significant damage.
"He'll be out a little bit but the initial signs from his MRI were more encouraging then when you watched the replay," he said. "When you watch the replay, it looked like it would be an absolute third-degree sprain. It's not but he'll still be out a little while."